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Thread: Missing the bluegrass sound

  1. #1
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    Default Missing the bluegrass sound

    I have been playing for 10 months now. My cords and cord progression is good. I can pick simple melody but it is missing that bluegrass sound. Can anyone point me in the right direction, YouTube video or book?

  2. #2
    Registered User DoubleE's Avatar
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    Default Re: Missing the bluegrass sound

    Mandolessons.com, Peghead Nation, Banjo Ben Clark, that’s just a few. I would focus on some fiddle tunes first. Maybe Angeline the Baker or Old Joe Clark.

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  4. #3
    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Missing the bluegrass sound

    You'll sound a lot better when you're playing with a couple other people, especially a guitar and bass.

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    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Missing the bluegrass sound

    Mandolessons.com is great for learning fiddle tunes, but not specifically bluegrass. Banjobenclark.com is great, I'm a member there, his lessons are great and easy to follow, it's not free though.
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
    Other instruments: way too many, and yet, not nearly enough.

    My blog: https://theoffgridmusician.music.blog/
    My YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChF...yWuaTrtB4YORAg
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  8. #5
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    Default Re: Missing the bluegrass sound

    Be patient , take some lessons, best in a direct teacher student exchange but sites will work, and do a bunch of listening to your favorite mandolinists . A computer program or device that slows down the recording will assist your ear in picking up just what is going on. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

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  10. #6
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    Default Re: Missing the bluegrass sound

    Usuallypickin, it's hard to be patient, I know that it takes years to become a master of any craft. I can play the melody but just that sound is' there. I just wish I could put my finger on it.

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    Registered User bradlaird's Avatar
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    Default Re: Missing the bluegrass sound

    Eric, I am not trying to be a wiseguy here. I am just curious to get more information.

    In that spirit of discovery I would ask:

    1. How many Bill Monroe albums have you listened to? You should wear the grooves out on several. I really mean a thousand hours of it. No joke. And then add in John Duffey, Jesse McReynolds, Bob Osborne before you dive into Grisman, Bush, and eventually land at Thile. Start with Bill and lots of it. Soak in that and you can’t help but take it in. (Since the Father is no longer on our mortal plane you can’t, obviously, go sit in the front row.)

    2. How much time have you spent, with that mandolin slung over your shoulder, in the company of other bluegrass musicians? I am talking about jams, festival parking lots and campgrounds and cabin porches. Time spent there, and it takes a lot of time over many years, will instill that thing you are missing.

    Brad
    Last edited by bradlaird; Oct-29-2019 at 5:31am. Reason: Typi

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  13. #8
    Registered User DoubleE's Avatar
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    Default Re: Missing the bluegrass sound

    Quote Originally Posted by bradlaird View Post

    1. How many Bill Monroe albums have you listened to? You should wear the grooves out on several. I really mean a thousand hours of it. No joke. And then add in John Duffey, Jesse McReynolds, Bob Osborne before you dive into Grisman, Bush, and eventually land at Thile. Start with Bill and lots of it. Soak in that and you can’t help but take it in. (Since the Father is no longer on our mortal plane you can’t, obviously, go sit in the front row.)

    2. How much time have you spent, with that mandolin slung over your shoulder, in the company of other bluegrass musicians? I am talking about jams, festival parking lots and campgrounds and cabin porches. Time spent there, and it takes a lot of time over many years, will instill that thing you are missing.
    I would say Brad nailed it.

  14. #9
    Registered User bradlaird's Avatar
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    Default Re: Missing the bluegrass sound

    Thanks Double E!

    That is what I try to do. My thing is to think—clearly if possible—, post rarely, and if I do, make it worth the thumb typing on this stupid iPod.

    And something I forgot to say in my original response is that my questions were rhetorical. The questions are meant to be pondered, not answered. Internal dialog is generally more productive that “crowd-sourced” wisdom. Mine included.

    I firmly believe that if one has the intelligence to formulate a question they probably already have the ability to find an answer.

    This is (sorry Scott) a down vote on forums, internet chatter and bar stool opinions. And perhaps even podcast addiction.

    I really think that people should try out the idea of thinking for themselves.

    Brad

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    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Missing the bluegrass sound

    Find a few people to make some music with, it is an accepting group of people! Don’t hide, maybe hang back until you find your feet. Bluegrass music is the most “Group-funded” genre I’ve ever seen. Listen and learn, find where you feel comfortable, it might take a little time but, the whole thing is making music is

    “PLAYING”

    Minor English lesson...
    It’s “Chord” not cord, reasonable use of the strangely idiomatic “English language” time for me to roast something else for dinner.
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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  18. #11
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Missing the bluegrass sound

    Might want to attend this next year........

    https://monroemandolincamp.com/
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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  20. #12
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Missing the bluegrass sound

    Quote Originally Posted by bradlaird View Post
    ....

    I firmly believe that if one has the intelligence to formulate a question they probably already have the ability to find an answer.
    ...I really think that people should try out the idea of thinking for themselves.

    Brad
    I generally agree with Brad. BUT... beginners (I remember) may not be AWARE of certain concepts and therefore have a hard time thinking much about them.

    Case in point: Eric, if you can play the melody, are you playing it as a line of single notes? Do you use embellishments like slides?

    Two tools used lots in BG music are double stops and slides. (There are, of course, many more techniques also.)
    If you're not yet using these, they would likely add a lot to your efforts.

    Guide to Doublestops
    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” “Accidentals”

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  22. #13
    Registered User John Soper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Missing the bluegrass sound

    And learn how to play bluegrass rhythm!!! Learn the infamous G-chop chord and learn how to chop it (multiple free videos). Listen to your favorite players and try to emulate their rhythm patterns. Even more importantly, play with others in a jam; really learn how to play rhythm for bluegrass tunes & that will make you sound "more bluegrass" above and beyond anything else. Your role as a soloist in an instrumental tune is to play rhythm at least 3/4 of the tune, less if it is a vocal tune. Plenty of bluegrass tunes (Flatt & Scruggs) have minimal to no mandolin soloing in some pretty iconic bluegrass songs...

  23. #14
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    Default Re: Missing the bluegrass sound

    My first question. What does a bluegrass mandolin sound like? Bill Monroe or Doyle Lawson--- Jesse McRenyolds or Red Rector. My point is the bluegrass sound is varied, listen to the one you like the best until it's really in your head then try to do it. The more you listen and the more you practice the closer you will get. Never forget what you should be trying to achieve is to sound like you, but you have to start somewhere. Also not to be a smart a$$ those you are listening to probably have been playing more than 10 months.

  24. #15

    Default Re: Missing the bluegrass sound

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric "Trapper" G View Post
    I have been playing for 10 months now. My cords and cord progression is good. I can pick simple melody but it is missing that bluegrass sound. Can anyone point me in the right direction, YouTube video or book?
    Its hard to be born full grown.

    Give yourself a little more time, measured in years, not months.
    Play it like you mean it.

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  26. #16
    Registered User archerscreek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Missing the bluegrass sound

    I would guess that you're playing probably sounds too mechanical, rigid, or technical. Or to put it another way, you play like an engineer rather than an artist. It's a natural progression. You have to nail the technical stuff before the art can freely flow.

    I think if you really want to nail the bluegrass sound and be able to communicate with your music, you have to listen to the blues. Think of it as Blues Grass music rather than something named after a sod. There would be no bluegrass without the blues. I hear a ton of blues influences in Bill Monroe's songs.

  27. #17
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Missing the bluegrass sound

    I have read that it takes about a decade to sound like you have been playing 10 years.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

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  29. #18

    Default Re: Missing the bluegrass sound

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    Its hard to be born full grown.

    Give yourself a little more time, measured in years, not months.
    I once read that it takes about 10 years to sound like you've been playing for a decade... and some of us don't progress that quick.

    Edit: Guess I'm not the first to say this... maybe I should read the whole thread before commenting.

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